two things have occured in the last six or seven weeks which may or may not explain my hiatus from the world of LJ. This journal was always meant to be a notebook of ideas and rants with the focus on the less personal.
First, partly due to work, I have been thinking and reading less. So less input equates to less output. This has translated into less writing as well which I am not very happy about.
Second, in the last two months my focus has shifted from the intellectual external to the emotional internal.
I’ll expand on this because it is more interesting than work.
Getting to know my sub-cortical structures has been a challenge. My mode of living has always been to rationalise emotional reactions so quickly and automatically that either those reactions are dampened prior to me being aware of them or that I’ve jumped into post-facto explanations and justifications without actually feeling those emotions thoroughly thus losing sight of their root-causes.
So, my standard operating procedure (and of course I need one) in the event of feeling emotions these days (after two months of reasonably intensive introspection) is as follows:
1. Be still. This pretty much means not thinking “why is this happening” and “what should I do” and “what is causing this”.
2. Be aware. Sitting with the feelings and then performing a first pass at cataloguing what it is that I am actually feeling. Sometimes this means taking stock of physiological indicators such as heart rate.
3. Perform root cause analysis. Not by making up theories but by running through/envisioning real scenarios and taking stock of emotional reactions in turn (using steps 1 and 2). This isnt very different from probing around an injured area to get an idea of what is actually wounded. This is often a process of elimination.
4. Form a simple working conclusion. Sub-cortical structures are simple. So any second tier explanations can usually be dismissed. Unfortunately, it can also be quite humbling if one has an idea of one being a complex person to realise, for example in my case, that my occasional feelings of disconnection and loneliness are not so much to do with the isolation that results from a philosophical refusal to engage with the flawed world as it stands but rather that I often feel that my friends dont call me as often as I would like them to.
The other thing that’s resulted from all this is that I appear to be more able to read emotions in others as I’m now more aware of the automatic emotional responses in myself due to subtle physical cues from others. Apparently, sub-cortical structures in people have a rich non-verbal language that communicate semi-independently of our conscious self. Fortunately, this is somewhat falsifiable as the conscious self can use language to confirm if its conclusions are correct. (provided that the other person has some level of knowledge to their own emotional selfs).